.30-30 vs .308 – Winchester Ammo Roundup

30-30 vs 308

The famous “Thirty Thirty” (.30-30) stands for the ammo that the rifle is chambered for. When the ammo was designed, cartridges were described by the bullet diameter (30 caliber or 30 hundredths is an inch), followed by the caseload capacity in grains of black powder. The .308 means that the diameter of the bullet is .308 inches wide. The Winchester stands for what the company designed the round. The round for a .308 is 51 millimeters long, but that information is not associated with its name. This article will discuss why the .30-30 Winchester remains so popular and compared to the .308.

Why .30-30 vs. .308

Close your eyes and think about a traditional hunting trip. I bet you are thinking of classic Americana, where you can picture a lever-action chambered in .30-30 Winchester. Right? Well, one hundred years ago, the .30-30 Winchester was invented, and since, it has gained an excellent reputation as an ammo option for hunting many medium-game. Some of which include deer, black bears, and feral hogs. Even after such a long lifespan, the .30-30 Winchester is still one of America’s beloved ammo choices. It’s an age-old invention initially designed for hunting demand in the 1800s. You can say that that demand has drastically altered since the 1890s. The .30-30 Winchester has been around for well over a century and has been told to place more venison on tables in the United States than any other ammo. Additionally, the demand for the .30-30 Winchester is nevertheless soaring in the United States and is regarded as one of the best-selling ammo.

The History of .30-30 vs. .308

Both 30-30 and .308 are the same calibers for rifled guns; however, the length and amount of gun powder in each ammo are different. Utilized in dense, forested woods as well as on the battlefields, the .30-30 and .308 remain to be one of the most versatile rifle rounds ever created. Find out why below.

.30-30 Winchester

The .30-30 Winchester was first launched by Winchester Repeating Arms in 1895, the .30-30 Winchester (Win) is recognized as one of the extraordinary success stories in American firearms. Notwithstanding its date frame, the .30-30 Win calibers have maintained a remarkably strong following. Most of which would be deer hunting or other medium-game hunters. The Winchester Model 1894 rifle was designed for the .30-30 and is a lever-action gun beneficial for hunting and target shooting. Intended as a sporting cartridge, the .30-30 is lightweight, easy to handle, and came at an attractive price point. Winchester originally named this ammo the “.30 Winchester Smokeless,” and it carried a “.30 Winchester Center Fire” headstamp. Since these bullets are typically loaded into a lever-action rifle that has tube magazines, the bullets are flat-nosed. The cartridges are then loaded front-to-back, so having a pointed tip on a bullet could unintentionally ignite any ammo in the magazine. You wouldn’t want that!

.308 Winchester

308 ammo

Winchester introduced the .308 to the commercial market as a sporting round in 1952 after being promoted for the military. The .308 Winchester ammo was initially being offered in their Model 70 and Model 88 rifle guns. Since the introduction in 1952, the .308 Win has become the most popular game hunting ammo in the world. The .308 is ammo that has been titled as a “do-it-all” ammo. A fantastic perk to the .308 is that it does not have any of the more enormous rifle cartridges recoil and still serves adequately as a medium to long-range round. The .308 ammo remains one of the most sought-after hunting charges in the U.S. and the world and is used extensively for the following medium size game in North America for whitetail deer, pronghorn, and black bears.

Specifications of Differences for .30-30 vs. .308

Weight Comparison of a .30-30 and .308

Each bullet that is produced today is categorized based on its weight in grains. The grain bullet or “gr” is the bullet’s actual weight. The grain bullet is the measurement of the bullet weight, not the gunpowder cartridge. The .30-30 has a gr of 150, and the .308 has a gr of about 56. With the .308 being a lighter grain, you will have more speed. Having more speed means having a straighter trajectory. These lighter rain ammo are really great for competition shooting. With the .30-30 having a heavy gr, you can find out that you will have a better chance of penetration compared to lighter grains because the wind will not be an issue as an obstacle. The cons for a lighter bullet weight can vary, some being that a simple blast of wind can traject the ammo to be blown off the course very quickly. As well as noting that the lesser the mass means there will be minor damage to the target. Cons for heavier bullet weight is that you may not be able to get the long-range distance you are hoping for. Also, you will get a lot more substantial recoil with .308 ammo versus the .30-30 due to its heavy grain.

Velocity Comparison of a .30-30 and .308

Velocity is essential for any and all hunting cartridges because it enables how fast the bullet goes. The faster the ammo, in general, the better it will perform. On average, when it comes to velocity, the .30-30 Win ammunition reaches a speed of about 2400 feet per second, while the .308 ammunition travel at a rate of 2680 feet per second. Hence, the .308 travels at a faster speed. Typically, when you have a fast bullet, it shoots flat, and therefore it’s able to shoot at long ranges. Some other benefits to velocity are the following.

  • Velocity has multiple benefits, but one great advantage is that the hunter can make any adjustments needed to shoot an animal easier at a more extended range.
  • The velocity of a bullet can also help the animal itself for a quick, clean death. 

Let’s say that an animal is 500 yards away. In order for you to comfortably pull off that shot, you will have to sustain a lasting hold over that animal. The chances of making a bad shot are more elevated. Although, if you have the correct cartridge where you aren’t strapped to making any adjustments for a long-range shot, you won’t have trouble accurately completing your objective to shoot the animal humanely.

Energy Comparison of a .30-30 and .308

Typically, when it comes to hunting rounds, hunters are looking at the muzzle velocity to focus on when determining what caliber of ammo to choose. Generally speaking, the higher the muzzle velocity, the higher the power. So, for example, the .30-30 Win muzzle energy averages around 1,902 foot-pounds, and at 200 yards, the .30-30 Win is below 1,000 foot-pounds. In comparison, a .308 Winchester round averages out to be about 2620 foot-pound. So right out of the gate, typically, all of the .308 cartridges immediately have more energy and a better, slower drop than the .30-30.

Recoil Comparison of a .30-30 and .308

The recoil for the .30-30 Win is explicitly light. Winchester designed it to be this way, and since its invention, it has been the most loved cartridge for deer hunters. One would prefer to deer hunt in densely forested areas because of the environment, and as a beginner doe hunter, the lighter recoil would work perfectly for them. Statistics show the recoil in foot-pounds from a .308 win on average, is 22. While the recoil from a .30-30 is around 14 foot-pounds. Meaning, the .308 Win is approximately eight foot-pounds heavier than the .30-30. If you wonder how much recoil your shoulder will undertake, the .30-30 is lighter and better suited for a younger person on hunting rounds. For those youngsters, an added bonus is that they will get to practice target shooting with a lever-action rifle gun! 

General Specifications of The .30-30

• Ammo release date is 1895

• The diameter of the bullet is .308 inches

• The size of the bullet in grains is 150

• The case length is 2 inches

• This ammo is commonly used in rifle guns

• Nicknamed as the “Thirty-Thirty”

General Specifications of The .308

• Ammo release date is 1952

• The diameter of the bullet is .308 inches

• The size of the bullet in grains is 56.0

• The case length is 2 inches

• This ammo is commonly used in rifle guns

Which One Is Best For Me?

30-30 vs 308

Oftentimes people ask which is the better option, so if you are looking for more velocity, energy, and the ability to shoot longer ranges, then the .308 is a better caliber for you. Simply put, the .308 can achieve everything the .30-30 can, and more. Below we have a few questions you might want to ask yourself in order to figure out which caliber would best suit your needs.

  • What is the distance of your shooting range?
  • What hunting activity is your means?
  • What is your level of recoil?
  • What is your budget?
  • Where do you plan to go to shoot?
  • Do you know how much bullet grain you need for your activity?

If you are planning on deer hunting or target shooting, you will most likely be under 200 yards for that, so the .30-30 will be a perfect suit for those needs. 

Is a .30-30 Winchester Good for Self Defense?

Many experts and authorities will say that the best self-defense choice would be semi-auto rifles. However, there are many cases where these rifles are either restricted from usage, or these rifles have to be compliant with the law in their designated state. A .30-30 Win has been the choice of ammo for rifles for home protection for over one hundred years and counting! Some excellent benefits to having .30-30 ammo around are that it is compact, handles fast, has very decent accuracy, and you can find this ammo practically anywhere in gun stores. Generally speaking, ammo prices for .30-30 range anywhere from $25 to $50. Though, some ammo prices could range up to $150 or more.

Final Thoughts

For the .30-30 and .308 ammo, they will offer every gun enthusiast dependable hunting and self-defense ammo. Both of these types of ammo have been around for decades and are quality bullets. These are the top-notch ammo choices to successfully fill up your freezer from venison hunting and other medium games. You will not have any trouble looking for a .30-30 or .308 in any gun store across America. Whichever ammo you decide to go with, please stay safe and continue practicing gun safety!